Navigating anti-LGBTQ politics and homonationalism

Precarity and social support structures among Russian and Ugandan queer migrants in Sweden

Project manager

Gunnarsson Payne, Jenny - Senior Lecturer


Swedish Research Council

Project type



Polarized attitudes to LGBTQ-issues increasingly play a key role in geopolitical power struggles, with profound consequences for migration trajectories and experiences. In some contexts LGBTQ people are scapegoated as threats to the nation and “traditional values”, prompting some to migrate to escape violence and harassment. In other contexts, the protection of LGBTQ rights is represented as indicative of moral national identities. While offering some the opportunity of asylum, the reception of queer migrants tends to be conditional and marked by overall restrictive migration policies. The aim of this project is to understand how politicizations around queer sexualities become constitutive of social relationships and support structures – strengthening some and disrupting others – and thereby affecting migrants’ access to emotional and material life-sustaining resources.

Based on biographical narratives of queer migrants from Russia and Uganda in Sweden, we consider a range of migrant trajectories in terms of displacement, reception and possibilities to settle and rebuild life. How do queer migrants experience and navigate polarized understandings of sexuality? Which concrete relational practices do they enact to manage pre- and post-migration precarities, within and across borders? Responding to these questions, the project contributes significantly to queer migration- and queer kinship scholarship, as well as the growing research field on anti-gay and anti-gender politics.

Docent Sofie Tornhill (medsökande)

Kirill Polkov (projektmedarbetare)

Docent David Titelman (konsult)

Research area / geographic area

Ethnology Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe Sweden

Contract ID


Project time

2024 — 2027


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